I walked down the aisle in my pretty, flowing dress with my hair all done up, my makeup just perfect. I smiled from ear to ear. I was genuinely ecstatic—for my friend. I thought to myself, “I am sure glad it’s her and NOT ME! I enjoy a party and everything, but I am going to wait and see how this turns out for her; maybe I will do it later. It just kind of seems like this is the end of her life.” I had a gripping fear of marriage and commitment, and I didn’t even realize it.
A few years later, I sat in a counselor’s office. The counselor asked me, “So, Lindsay, do you like him?”
I said, “I think so; I think I could like him.”
She said, “No, Lindsay, do you like him?”
I repeated in a very thoughtful way but with a slight stutter, “Yes, I do…I do…think…I like him.”
She finally said, “Lindsay, I am not asking you if you think you like him; I am asking you how you feel.”
And I said, as genuinely as I could, “Yes, I think I feel like I like him.”
She shook her head, “Lindsay, take ‘think’ out of it. How do you FEEL about him?”
I thought to myself, “Feel...what exactly does she mean by ‘feel?’”
The fear was so deep, I couldn’t feel it—or anything else for that matter. When I thought about marriage, I honestly had an image of being handcuffed to a stove.
Why? Well, the handcuffs represented the idea of being held down, trapped. It was fear, but it was also well hidden. It was hidden under independence, which led to pride and self-protection. Fear can be hidden quite deep down inside, and over time it becomes a little too normal to recognize. The fear was more real than I can describe, and I wore it as a comfortable identity that protected me from ever feeling rejected or abandoned.
I don’t know what it is you fear, but fear is a liar. It will steal from you! Fear will tell you that “these feelings” are normal. It will tell you that this is just how you are; fear will keep you from all God has for you! It will act like your best friend; I got comfortable with mine, I thought it was going to protect me and help me so that I didn’t get hurt.
Nope, fear is a liar!
Fear not only kept me from beautiful things, but it was so twisted and silent that it caused me to do harmful things to myself and to think horrible, horrific thoughts. As those things festered inside of me they caused me to not only hate myself but to want to end my life.
Bob Goff recently said, “Fear only has the power you give it, similar to hope!" Hope is what Jesus gave me during my fight with fear, which was determined to take me out.
Fear is a liar, but Jesus is the Redeemer and the Restorer. It wasn’t until I ended up at a “Restoration Conference” two years ago, where I went up to pray with two women that, for the first time, I admitted I had a fear of marriage, a fear of my husband leaving me for another woman...the husband that I didn’t even have yet!
These sweet women prayed, “Lord, please go into the garden of her heart and dig out this lie and replace it with something beautiful.” At that very moment, a flower came to mind. I was crying so hard snot was running out of my nose. Suddenly, I envisioned myself walking down the aisle—as a bride!
I was shocked by this picture. I had been a bridesmaid in 16 weddings at this point and yet, I had never imagined myself as the bride. I was so shocked. I ran into the bathroom and said, “Lord, that was You; that had to be You! I could never conjure up that image even when I wanted to.” Later I said to myself, “Well I am the bride of Christ.” The fear was so gripping that before that day I couldn’t even receive this picture.
Three months later, I was in Goodwill. I walked over by the dresses to see if I could get a cute summer dress for a good deal. I found myself looking at wedding dresses, and then I saw a veil. I couldn’t walk away from it. I was arguing with myself, “Lindsay, what ARE you doing? Walk away,” but I just couldn’t. So, I picked it up and said to myself, “If it's under $5.00 I am going to get it.” Honestly, I had NO IDEA why I was buying it. I felt stupid but extremely compelled. Of course, it ended up being $4.97.
Forty-five minutes later, I walked into my house, and suddenly, the same vision from 3 months earlier popped back into my head... the image of me as the bride. I had just purchased the EXACT SAME VEIL as I had on in that vision. I stood shocked, in utter amazement, I said, “Lord, this is CRAZY!” Strangely, I still didn’t think it had anything to do with me getting married. Fear is stubborn and doesn’t let go easily!
Six months later, an intern who had just started with our company came into my office.
I didn’t know her at all; but she shut the door and sat down. She proceeded to tell me that the Lord put me on her heart the evening before, and she started praying for me. She saw this image of me on my knees asking God if I were meant to be single, and then she boldly said the answer was NO!
The Lord is sweet to encourage us on our journey, whether surrendering a gripping fear that you have had for 36 years or something else. He knows our needs. He is sweet to encourage us.
I am 36 and still single. I recently surrendered that fear completely to the Lord. I don’t know what’s next, but I know God is good. I know He is able; I know my time is in His hands. I know marriage is beautiful, and I know it can be hard. More than that, I know that being free of fear is better than anything I could hope or imagine! I don’t know if your fear is marriage like mine or if you fear never getting married. Either way, give that fear to the Lord, and watch the beautiful love of Jesus envelope your heart and take you on an adventure of a lifetime!
Lindsay Morgan is a native of Ohio who moved south 7 years ago where she met Jesus head on at age 31. Ever since then, she has been fascinated by His tangible presence and real love. Her writings usually include the grace, the struggle and the expectant heart of a moment by moment surrender to the God who created the Universe! Find more at www.PuttingthePencilDown.com.